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Advice please on cleaning a hedgehog house.

Home Forums Hedgehog signs and sightings Advice please on cleaning a hedgehog house.

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  • #39797

    Hi Everyone,
    Could someone give me advice on cleaning my hedgehog house. We have had hedgehogs visiting our house for over 20 years. I used to feed them along with our cat ( now deceased ). They make a lot of noise at the back door until we feed them ! Anyway, my husband built me a house for Christmas and when we looked in April it was occupied. We left it alone, and last night the hedgehog living in it appeared at the back door with I think, 3 hoglets. They ate all the food and went back towards the house at the bottom of the garden. From what I could tell by looking at them,the hoglets were a good size. When will it be safe to clean out the house or should I just leave them to it ? I never had to worry about this when they nested under the shed or in the log piles. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.


    Hi Audrey,

    I usually clean my heggie house in the spring, once it has been vacated by the previous Autumn’s occupants. Once I’ve checked that it’s definitely empty, I dispose of the bedding, putting it into my garden waste bin, then I boil the kettle and rinse thoroughly with boiling water. Allow to dry in the sun, then refresh the bedding. (When I first got my hedgehog house, I was advised not to use washing-up liquid or other cleaning products.)

    So pleased to hear that you have a Mum with babies. I had a Mum with six hoglets last year. I was so thrilled! Nothing has taken up residence this year as yet, which surprises me, but then it’s been an odd year weatherwise, so we’ll see.

    Good luck, Lily.


    Thank you Lily, I’ll leave it for now then. They came again last night too. About an hour later a huge one appeared followed by another two. My goodness, I was busy replenishing the bowls. I don’t have a night camera, so I’m alerted by the noises they make. Thanks again for your advice. I appreciate it .

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    Hi AudreyW

    Great news about the hoglets! I’m not surprised they’re eating such a lot – they grow incredibly quickly at that age and Mum will need to feed up, too, ready for hibernation.

    It’s ok to clean out hog houses in the Autumn as well. Probably a good idea once the family vacates, in case anyone wants to use it for hibernation. In the wild a hog probably wouldn’t use a nest again, partly because of the potential build up of parasites.

    More information:

    Hope all the hoglets do well.


    Hi Nic,
    Thank you for your reply. How do I know when the family moves out ? I’m terrified of disturbing them and perhaps mum abandons them.

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    Hi AudreyW

    It’s not quite so easy without a camera, but there are various things you can try to see if there’s any activity in and out of the hog house. You could put some scrunched up paper in the doorway (or i.e. a flower, leaf or twig) where it would be moved if a hog exited, or if you have any you could try putting some sand in the doorway and just outside and see if there are any footsteps.

    Sometimes the hoglets continue to use a hog house for a while after Mother hog has left them to go it alone, so make the object big enough that a hoglet couldn’t get out without moving it, but light enough that they would push it out the way.

    It is more likely that Mother hog might abandon them when they are new borns. Once they are out and about she will have invested a lot in getting them to that size, so less likely to abandon them when they still need her. So I wouldn’t worry about putting something in the doorway disturbing them as long as you’re quiet.

    The hoglets normally go out with Mum from about 4 weeks and by a couple of weeks later will be old enough to dispserse, so hopefully by October those ones will have left home (or Mother hog decided they are old enough to look after themselves). Then if the object hasn’t moved, I would still open up the lid carefully, but by that stage they shouldn’t mind too much if you are really quiet (if a hoglet does still happen to be there).

    Meanwhile, enjoy watching the hoglets!


    Hi Nic
    Thank you so much for your help. I’m amazed at the number we’re seeing. Last night my husband and I sat in the dark ,in the conservatory, for two hours. We saw eight in that time alone. I’m going to have to buy a camera as I don’t want to miss a thing. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge with us.


    Hello I’m a new member, and would like to know why the hedgehog house is full of poo? The house is 3 years old and never been used before, this year I put food in it and came back to find the food eaten and poo in the corner and in the entrance, and more poo the next day and yet more the next day.
    My question is, do I clean it out and lay the bedding? Or do I just leave the bedding outside next to the house?
    Thanks for any help.

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    Hi AudreyW

    Great that you’ve had so much hog activity. Although some hogs make multiple visits so it isn’t always easy to tell the actual numbers. I do recommend a camera, though – it’s good fun watching what they get up to, especially if there are hoglets around as well.

    Happy hog watching.

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    Hi Joy

    Welcome to the Forum!

    Some hogs won’t use a hog house until it has become ‘part of the furniture’, so it isn’t surprising the hogs haven’t used it before now. But, the hog house will have poo in it because it’s been used for feeding. Hogs very often poo around feeding areas, especially if there is more than one hog around. If you want to continue using the box for feeding, it is best to clean out the poo and wash it with boiling water to kill any parasite eggs.

    If you want it to be used for nesting, don’t use it for food. Hogs will occasionally decide to use feed boxes to nest in, but it isn’t ideal. Food can attract predators to the area.

    So if you want the hog house to be used for nesting, once it is cleaned with boiling water and thoroughly dried, put in a handful of nesting material and leave more nearby. For a hibernation nest hogs use a huge amount of material, so make sure there is lots of material around. Medium sized leaves and long grasses are favoured materials. But most hogs prefer to do the interior decorations themselves – and are far better at building nests than we would be!

    Maybe you need another house/box for feeding? It is best not to have feeding and nesting houses too close together so as not to attract predators to any potential nest.

    Good luck. Hope someone takes up residence. Some of the males will start hibernating soon.

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